It’s the new year, and many of us have started out with our usual resolution: lose weight.
In fact, YouGovAmerica reported in 2020 that of the approximate 27% of Americans who said they were going to make a New Year’s resolution, 46% wanted to exercise more and 45% wanted to improve their diet.
Yep, weight loss-related goals are always at the top of people’s lists — but, unfortunately, very few actually succeed. Studies show that 80% of resolutions fail within the first year.
So, where are we going wrong? Should we even make a New Year’s resolution at all?
The short answer: Absolutely. The key is to approach your resolution with the right frame of mind and take the necessary steps to become one of the 20% who actually do achieve their goals.
1) Start with the proper mindset.
Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about making small, manageable changes rather than opting into an extreme, restrictive diet that is impossible to maintain.
2) Create SMART goals.
You’ve likely heard about SMART goals — goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Write down your main goal (such as losing 20 pounds). Then, write down each SMART goal to get you there. Starting small will help you take the first step towards success. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing SMART goals.
3) Aim for losing 1-2 pounds a week.
We tend to love instant gratification these days. That’s a huge reason it’s easy to get caught up in all the hullabaloo and promises from fad diets promising you you’ll shed 20 pounds in six weeks. But even if you do achieve those results, they are far from sustainable. The likelihood that you’ll gain the weight back is high. Instead, aim to lose no more than 2 pounds a week by making small, steady changes.
4) Yes, you should exercise (at least a little).
According to the National Weight Control Registry, 91% of people who have maintained weight loss for an extended period of time reported they engaged in at least moderate exercise every week. Yes, it is definitely possible to lose weight with a healthy diet. But when you restrict yourself too much and too often, you’re less likely to stick with it. Exercise offsets extra calories and builds a little wiggle room. If the idea of a gym or fitness class isn’t your thing, then go for walks or try at-home videos. Mix it up until you find what works for you.
5) Keep a food and exercise journal.
Knowledge is power. Keeping track of what you eat and how often you exercise is vital to your long-term success. There are many free apps available that let you track your individual needs with respect to calories in and calories burned. Or, you can get a hard-copy food/fitness journal to write everything down each day. Either way, logging your weight loss journey will give you the insights you need to make necessary adjustments and build a thorough understanding of what it takes to lose and maintain.
6) Get an accountability partner.
Take a moment and think of a friend, family member, or loved one who you can turn to for support. Ask that person to be your accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone you can talk to about your journey and turn to when you find yourself struggling. They should be someone you trust and who understands what you need to do to achieve your goal.
7) Accept setbacks.
Setbacks are inevitable. There may be a week you don’t lose any weight or one where you make poor choices. That’s okay. Don’t let one bump in the road deter you from moving forward. As long as you learn from it, you’re still moving forward.
8) Celebrate your success.
Get excited when you achieve something! Whether you lost a pound at the end of a week, opted for a piece of fruit instead of a bag of potato chips at lunch, or completed a week’s worth of exercise, celebrate it! Buy yourself a new handbag or piece of jewelry. Go see that movie you’ve been wanting to see. Do something positive to acknowledge just how far you’ve come.
Ultimately, setting out to lose weight in the new year doesn’t have to end in failure. Start with these steps and then use your success to keep the momentum going for a lifetime. And, if you need help with eating healthy, consider utilizing Diet-to-Go’s chef-crafted, portion-controlled meals that take the thinking out of it. View all four of our award-winning, customizable menus here!
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.